Opposition bill seeks to remove 'undemocratic veto' in Dáil

The Government's use of an “undemocratic veto” in Dáil Eireann has seen more than 50 Opposition bills blocked, despite having majority support in the chamber.

Opposition bill seeks to remove 'undemocratic veto' in Dáil

The Government's use of an “undemocratic veto” in Dáil Eireann has seen more than 50 Opposition bills blocked, despite having majority support in the chamber.

An Opposition bill, proposed by Solidarity-People Before Profit, seeks to unblock that veto over the so-called 'money message' which requires Government approval for a bill to proceed.

The bill seeks to amend the current Dáil rules to remove the Government's ability to block a bill on money grounds on the basis of potential “incidental expenses and indirect cost” implications.

While the money message provision is written into the Constitution, those proposing the bill are arguing that Dáil rules go further than that and as a result, many bills are being blocked on frivolous grounds.

The Constitution stops opposition members from progressing bills that would involve the appropriation of public money.

“The Dail's Standing Orders go further than what's written in the Constitution.

"So the standing orders stop opposition bills going forward where they appropriate revenue, as well as a number of incidental administrative expenses.

"The government have fashioned themselves a near-effective veto on the capacity of the Dáil to pass legislation,” said researcher Conor O'Neill at a press conference in Dublin.

“We have seen a situation where the government or be able to see the Dáil and vote in an overwhelming majority in favour of a bill, and then veto it on very very vague, very undefined cost grounds,” said TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

"The use and abuse of the money message by the government amounts to an outrageous sabotage of democracy.

"The government’s flagrant abuse of the money message to block hills which have been democratically passed by a majority in the Dáil is an equally scandalous instance of the government itself showing complete contempt for the constitution and for democracy,” he said.

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